Helen Slayton-Hughes, ‘Parks and Recreation’ Standout, Dies at 92

The actress and one-time director guest starred on “New Girl,” “Brooklyn 99,” “Arrested Development” and more


Helen Slayton-Hughes, the actress best known for playing Ethel Beavers on “Parks and Recreation,” died Wednesday, according to a post on her official Facebook page. She was 92.

“To the friends and fans of our beloved Helen, Helen passed away last night,” read the caption accompanying a montage video of her life and work. “Her pain has ended but her fierce spirit lives on. Thank you for the love and support of her and her work. Rest sweet one.…”

With a stage and screen career spanning more than 200 credits, Slayton-Hughes enjoyed dozens of scene-stealing turns throughout her 40-year career. From 2011 to 2015, she appeared on “Parks and Rec” as the chaotic court stenographer Ethel Beavers. The character was so beloved that Aubrey Plaza and Chris Pratt’s characters adopt her as their grandmother.

Plaza paid tribute to Slayton-Hughes in an Instagram post. “It was always Ethel Beavers. Always,” she wrote. Rest in Peace Helen. You were so loved and admired and I wanna be you when I grow up.”

Her “Parks and Rec” co-star Adam Scott chimed in with a message of his own: “Lots of love to Helen Slayton-Hughes, her family, and to Ethel Beavers. All your friends in Pawnee will miss you.”

Among Slayton-Hughes’ many notable guest-starring spots, she featured on “New Girl,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “Arrested Development,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Fresh Off the Boat,” “Parenthood,” “The West Wing” and “Malcolm in the Middle.”

She also had a recurring role on the Ken Marino-starring reality dating show parody “Burning Love,” playing Virginia and Agnes for 14 episodes.

Slayton-Hughes’ film work included prestige dramas like George Clooney’s “Good Night, and Good Luck” and Gus Van Sant’s “Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot.”

In 2006, she stepped behind the camera to write and co-produce the short film “Being the Tooth Fairy.” About a decade later — well into her 80s — she wrote, directed and executive produced another short, “Homage to Erik Satie’s Laundress.”

Slayton-Hughes’ final role was in Netflix’s “The Curse of Bridge Hollow,” which premiered in October.

She is survived by four children and six grandchildren, according to Yahoo.